Manitou Cliff Dwellings

Hello! This is Mouse.

If you've been looking around recently at my site, you will notice that I have changed some things, especially the title of the blog. I decided to eschew the personal blog title and lean more into travel blog writing. It doesn't mean that I won't put in my two sense from time to time, but I find that now with things opening up and being new to Colorado; I have an itch for exploration.

With that being said, this past weekend, Gameboy and I ventured back to Colorado Springs to check out the Manitou Cave dwellings. It's wedged between the Garden of the Gods and the quaint town of Manitou Springs.

I was surprised to find out that the cave dwellings are not original to the location. It was moved there by Virginia McClurg, a founder of the Colorado Cliff Dweller Association, and the Manitou Cliff Dwellings Ruins Company (this is real) to move it for preservation in 1907. The dwellings were from McElmo Canyon way down in the southwestern corner of Colorado. It was shipped by railroad and brought up to its current location by horse and wagon. It was painstakingly recreated using concrete instead of mud and clay.

It was disappointing to find out that it's not entirely original, yet it was done this way to preserve and teach people of the way of the Taos Pueblo Indians; who are descendants of the Anasazi people. Where it was, it was not being protected against vandals.

The Taos Pueblo Indians are mostly from New Mexico, but would travel to this area; which included the Garden of the Gods. There is still a large community of them in Taos, New Mexico and have existed for about 1,000 years.

Visitors are allowed to enter the dwellings and explore. Now that I know that it's not the original structure, I can stop being appalled about letting people trample all over the area. I found myself stopping in each chamber and imagining what life was like for these people. Each room had a function, such as sleeping quarters and food storage. You can listen to a narrative using your phone and scanning a QR code.

There is a small museum with images and pottery on display and an old film being played from a VHS. I wonder how long that's going to last. Hopefully they think to digitized that before it's lost. There's also a three level gift shop, with items on sale from gems to jewelry to Minnetonka shoes. I just grabbed some magnates. I like collecting magnates of places that I visit. Cheapest thing you can get, really.

A few tips for visiting: parking is tight, but there's someone that will tell you where to park, it's better to go on a cool day because most of it is outside, wear shoes with good traction because there's uneven surfaces and you can bring your dog.

Recommended food option: Amanda's Cantina and Fonda, great Mexican food inside a rustic cabin with an outdoor patio next to a babbling brook. Cheap meal too! A lunch for two is under $30 and it includes dessert!

Thanks for reading! Here are some pictures:

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